Nearly eight months after being acquired by Microsoft, in-game advertising company Massive has lots its two most prominent founding execs. CEO Mitch Davis and President of New Media Nicholas Longano have both said they will leave the company to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.
Davis will be replaced as CEO by Cory Van Arsdale, a 12-year veteran of Microsoft.
In an interview with ClickZ, Davis said his move is based on wanting to work in a start-up, but that he has no specific companies in his immediate future. “I’m a start up guy,” he said. “I’m happy to be able to hand the torch over to Cory and go back to doing what I love to do.”
While both Davis and Longano’s departures were announced together, the two reached their decisions at different times, according to Longano. Davis had determined to leave before Longano, who made his decision late last year.
“The transition of Massive into Microsoft has been a very smooth one,” said Longano. “Massive remains today a very independent organization and will remain an independent organization.”
Microsoft acquired Massive last May, in a bid to integrate in-game advertisements with the Xbox, MSN Games and MSN Messenger platforms. Massive has retained its broad focus on caual games and hard core gamers alike.
The departures did not surprise some competitors. “It’s a shame to see an exceptionally bright and capable core team move on to other endeavors,” said Jonathan Epstein, President and CEO of Double Fusion, an in-game advertising rival. “But this is what happens when large companies acquire small ones. The core team sees fits to leave. These are good guys, they had vision, they executed against it, they are very smart and I’m not sure where this leaves Microsoft.”